June 30, 2017
Sister Act is a musical based on the hit 1992 film of the same name, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner. It was first staged in Pasadena, California in 2006, before its original West End production opened on June 2, 2009 produced by star Whoopi Goldberg herself. The show has since been staged in Broadway and other cities, and is now making its debut here in Manila.
The plot of the musical is almost exactly like the film, so there are no surprises when you have already seen the movie. Frustrated show girl Deloris van Cartier (Dene Hill) witnessed her gangster boyfriend Curtis Shank (Brandon Godfrey) shoot someone dead. So, with the help of her old friend now cop Eddie (Will T. Travis), Deloris was brought to the Holy Angels Church to seek refuge disguised as a nun.
Mother Superior (Rebecca Mason-Wygall) reluctantly obeyed the instructions of Monsignor Howard (Kevin D. O'Neill). She introduced Deloris to the other nuns as Sister Mary Clarence, and assigns her to help improve their terrible-sounding choir. Of course, Deloris infected all the sisters, including the dour Sr. Mary Lazarus (Nancy Evans), the vivacious Sr. Mary Patrick (Emma Brock) and the painfully shy postulant Sr. Mary Robert (Sophie Kim), with all her showtime pizzazz to make the choir a big hit, attracting the congregation back into the church.
The singing is very good from all the cast, with with their amazingly strong voices. Dene Hill has a good singing voice, but she does not exactly have the strong presence of Ms. Goldberg, really big shoes for her to fill. Rebecca Mason-Wygall has excellent comic timing, and all her hilarious one-liner zingers all hit their mark. She also has a solid singing voice. I love her Mother Superior as I loved Maggie Smith in the movie. Nancy Kim had the innocent charm that made Wendy Makkena a darling in the movie as Sr. Mary Robert. But unlike the movie actress whose singing voice was dubbed, Kim's powerful voice was all hers.
The story and the stars are not the main reason we are watching this show though, it is the songs we are expecting. Unfortunately, we do not hear any of the well-loved songs from the movie that we were waiting to hear. It turns out that this show had all original songs. So do not expect to hear "Hail Holy Queen," "My God" or "I Will Follow Him," they're not in here, folks. It is better that you know this essential fact before going to watch, lest you have deflated expectations. That said, the original songs can be quite catchy, especially the choir songs like "Take Me to Heaven," "Spread the Love Around" and "Raise Your Voice". The solo songs are not too remarkable, but the performers try their best to liven them up.
Forgive my conservative nature, but I thought they took a lot of irreverent potshots at the Catholic Church here, all in the name of fun, mind you. The movie felt more careful in this aspect than this live musical version. I guess they really have to heighten the visual appeal of the stage production, hence we see the sisters wearing shiny colorful decorations on their habits, the altar boys doing wild dance moves or the statue of St. Mary adorned with silvery ribbons. Admittedly though, the grand finale number with all the glittery costumes was very cute and gloriously triumphant. This is a really feel-good show, and a smile is definitely guaranteed to be on your face as you leave the theater.
"Sister Act" runs at the Theater at Solaire from June 27 to July 9, 2017. Remaining show schedules are: Fri Jun 30 2017 - 8:00 PM, Sat Jul 1 2017 - 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM, Sun Jul 2 2017 - 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM, Thu Jul 6 2017 - 8:00 PM, Fri Jul 7 2017 - 8:00 PM, Sat Jul 8 2017 - 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM, Sun Jul 9 2017 - 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
Tickets prices: ₱6,883.50 (VIP), ₱5,824.50 (A Reserve), ₱4,765.50 (B Reserve), ₱3,706.50 (C Reserve) and ₱1,588.50 (D Reserve) at Ticketworld.